We’re sure that the recent and unfortunate incident affecting one of our fellow cloud services providers in the worst possible way - a fire in their data centers, did not escape your attention. This is a rare event with tangible consequences that go beyond the operator; affecting the entire digital industry and potentially a good chunk of our society connected to it directly or indirectly. We extended our support, and continue to empathize with those affected, both on the operator and client sides, who will be working countless hours in the coming weeks and months to rebuild real estate, physical and software infrastructure, network routes, databases and data sets, workflows and applications, and ultimately, trust. When this type of event occurs, we come to realize the undeniable fact that our society has grown to be highly dependent on computing and data storage, on top of the facilities that typically and seamlessly handle workloads. Globally, there is a fairly short list of a dozen cloud operators that relentlessly operate 24/7 to sustain over 90% of the world’s digital activity, and Scaleway is one such operator.
Despite careful management by professionals and industry experts, cataclysmic accidents can happen, albeit rarely. We can only reassure you that all stakeholders in our sector do everything in their power to avoid any type of incident -- environmental, infrastructure, power supply or other -- preventable or unpredictable, from occurring. Unfortunately, ISO standards alone are not sufficient as they do not currently deal with fire protection for physical assets in data centers. Each operator is therefore responsible for their design, fire protection policy and the investment they decide to make for protection against such perceived risks. Scaleway’s infrastructure has always been designed to the highest standards, in accordance with best practices, no matter what, to ensure we offer the best resilience and security possible. Moreover, our data center infrastructure is, and has always been, open to our clients and their insurers for audit purposes.
There is a lesson to take away from this event: dependency is the enemy of resilience. We will be looking inward at Scaleway to learn from this event, and to further map out our dependencies. Dependency on a single server or a single data center itself is a liability, which needs to be balanced with a multi-AZ or multi-region approach. Similarly, the global digital economy is at risk because of the too strong dependency on a few dominant cloud providers, and as we’ve seen, the entire internet goes down from time to time due to those dependencies. The burden is on us, cloud providers, to provide as much resilience as possible, but it comes at a cost: redundancy. This redundancy is also something cloud clients need to account for, by designing separate backup schemes and creating their disaster recovery plans. The good news is that cloud native applications can readily and easily build redundancy by distributing their applications and data across cloud providers, using well established standards.
I wrote this piece a year ago, “the cloud is dead, long live the multi cloud”, and it still rings true today, even more so after this event. The multi-cloud approach provides the ultimate possible level of resilience. I believe that at Scaleway, we have the humility to recognize that our cloud is not one-size-fits-all. We believe no cloud provider can be. This is why interoperability matters. Cloud architects already know the core concepts and already use Kubernetes, Load Balancers, and Terraform to abstract things, and deliver resilience.
In conclusion, do not put off thinking about resilience any longer. Work with your cloud architects and system administrators. Talk to your cloud providers, all of them. Distribute your workload and assets. Ask the hard questions.
Today, we call upon all stakeholders to be transparent with regard to their security measures. Together we are building the digital society of tomorrow.
If you want to go further, discover how we protect your data!